In Health Care, Millennials Look Beyond Traditional Relationships With Providers


NEW YORK—Understanding the Millennial patient population is a key operational element for all eyecare businesses, including the regional optical operators who often market to a well-defined local market that has a patient population flush with Millennials.

While the Millennial population has been researched across many metrics and topics, not much has been developed in terms of research that “examines how Millennials’ proclivity toward change-making and dialogue shows up in health care, an industry undergoing enormous volatility,” according to a recent report examining what Millennials want in terms of health care services.

The New York-based agency ghg | greyhealth group tackled this topic with the publication of the white paper, The New World of Healthcare: What Millennials Want. The research can be downloaded here.

According to the report, as Millennials reevaluate the health care landscape, they are looking “far beyond the traditional patient-doctor relationship.” Among the findings in the report:

  • Millennials are placing their trust in “Dr. Google,” with 39 percent noting that they are satisfied with advice received from online resources such as WebMD and Mayo Clinic.

  • Millennials use health as a means of forming communities as they gravitate toward partners in health, rather than authorities.

  • Compared with 68 percent of their Boomer counterparts, only 41 percent of Millennials feel doctors are their best source of information.

The intersection of Millennial's self-perception as change-making consumers with their health care preferences is increasingly important, as health care finally becomes customer-centric, the white paper also found. It’s no longer good enough to keep the consumer in mind. Health care providers have “to differentiate among consumers to truly reach them,” according to the report.

Another challenge that providers have to face when working with Millennials, according to the white paper, is that an “unprecedented volume of—often conflicting—information and advice can
be paralyzing” to this group’s decision making.

“Millennials have become increasingly indecisive and under-confident in the decisions they make,” the white paper noted. This often creates an “interesting paradox,” where in spite of having access to so much information, Millennials are “incredibly insecure” about their decisions and typically need a lot of reassurance that what they’re going to do is OK, according to the research paper.

By studying the behaviors and tactics that will “drive trust and satisfaction with Millennials, health care professionals can begin to communicate with them better,” the report noted. Furthermore, by demonstrating a respect for the opinions of Millennials and tapping into their “desire to make change within the health care system,” providers should be able to earn a sense of loyalty from the Millennial population.

ghg | greyhealth group works with health-focused brands and companies such as Johnson & Johnson to develop a “unique storytelling approach that covers print, digital and television-broadcast media, among other channels,” according to the agency’s website. ghg is a division of WPP, one of the world’s largest communications services company.